Let Every Finish Be A New Start

What perfect perfect timing for this week's prompt "finish!"  As I am preparing for our last week of small group for this latest study, I find myself thinking that though we may be closing another book, reading one last chapter, gathering for one final meeting before a break between studies, in my heart I am longing.  I feel this overwhelming longing for this to not just be the finish of yet another study that we will put on our shelves and continue on as before.  I want this to be just the opposite - a fresh beginning.  I long for our women, myself, to search our hearts and ask "How did I grow during these last few weeks? How am I changed? What am I willing to do or give up for God now?  Do I know and love Him more than I did?"

It is easy for us to get comfortable in our faith, in our small groups, in our safe and encouraging environments.  We certainly need those places and those relationships where we can truly relax in God's grace and fellowship with other believers.  But our challenge to always press on and run the good race can never be forgotten.  It is my prayer that we never just go through the motions of doing our homework and showing up to discuss our study every week without allowing ourselves to become more vulnerable and challenged for Him.  So as we close these last pages and prepare to begin a new study, may we never forget three of the most powerful words Jesus ever uttered.  "It is finished."  Those three words became the catalyst for our beginning.  When He finished His work, He unleashed His Holy Spirit on His followers, opened up the floodgates for us to begin the race to follow after Him and change our world for His glory.  May every finished chapter in our lives continue to prod us on to dig deeper, run harder, and love more completely as we grow in His grace and mercy.  May we continue to surrender ourselves to Him and find purpose, direction and complete joy.  When we can live like that, truly running the good race set out for us to run, I know when we get to Heaven our Father will say "My child, now it is finished for you... welcome home."

Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
— John 19:30
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
— Hebrews 12:1-3